Focused on adding depth to its offensive line as 2010 second-team All-Pro tackle Sebastian Vollmer remains on the open market, the New England Patriots announced the signing of former Falcons tackle Will Svitek on Monday.
Svitek, 31, started 10 games for the Falcons in 2011 before missing all of last season with an arm injury. In six NFL seasons, Svitek has started 16 games while with the Falcons and Chiefs.
New England also visited with former Texans and Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston on Monday, the Boston Globe reported. Indications are the Patriots met with Winston out of due diligence, according to the Globe. Winston is regarded for his zone blocking skills, and Vollmer (6-foot-8, 320 pounds) is arguably one of the league's most physical tackles.
Like Patriots left tackle Nate Solder, Svitek is a former college tight end. The Chiefs selected Svitek with a sixth-round pick out of Stanford in 2005. Svitek, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, started four games for Kansas City in 2007 before he was one of the team's final cuts during training camp in 2008. In 2011, Svitek ranked 41st by Pro Football Focus in efficiency among tackles who received at least 50 percent of their team's offensive snaps. Svitek is a versatile swing tackle, appearing in 11 games at left tackle for the Falcons in 2011 and at right tackle in three others.
The signings of Jake Long with the Rams and Jermon Bushrod with the Bears could impact negotiations with Vollmer. Long reportedly received a four-year deal that could be worth up to $36 million with St. Louis, and Bushrod agreed to terms on a five-year deal that could pay him upwards of $35.9 million with Chicago. After the loss of Long, the Dolphins may emerge as a potential suitor of Vollmer.
Last season, Vollmer started 15 games but dealt with persistent back issues in 2011 when he missed 10.
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